George Takei Talks Tech, Social-Media Stardom and More During Microsoft's Inaugural Podcast
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Serial this isn’t. But tech-giant Microsoft has just announced its foray into the podcasting arena with a brand new series entitled "Next at Microsoft."
The show will “bring in some of the industry’s most interesting people to talk about tech,” host (and Microsoft executive) David Chen wrote in a blog post announcing the initiative.
Judging from the first episode, however -- featuring actor, activist and social-media phenom George Takei -- the conversation is likely to stray into promotional fodder for Microsoft products and ventures.
While Takei discussed his unexpected rise as a beloved Facebook personality, where he currently counts more than 8 million followers, he was also sure to make mention of a recent visit to Microsoft’s campus in Washington. There, he says, he toured The Garage, a space where “very young innovators gathered together as a team and worked on marathon projects” including tech that allowed paralyzed NFL star Steve Gleason to control his wheelchair with his eyes.
Takei, who had ventured to Microsoft as part of his own YouTube series with the AARP entitled Takei’s Take, also extolled the virtues of Microsoft's Skype Translator -- a concept first broached on Star Trek, he says, as an imaginary device to communicate with alien species called the "universal translator."
In addition to all the tech talk, Takei, who is 77, discussed his recent career resurgence. All of his activity on social media, he says, actually stems from what he calls his “legacy project,” a musical drama about Japanese American internment called Allegiance. To promote the piece, Takei sought to reach out to his core audience of sci-fi geeks and Internet nerds. A Grumpy Cat meme was the first share that truly broke through, he says.
However, for the openly gay LGBT activist, it isn’t all fun and games.
“With humor, I’ve been able to grow [my audience] large enough that I can inject commentary on campaign finance reform or other issues that seem a little finger waggling, but are important for Americans to be thinking about,” he said.